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$417 Million Award Thrown Out In Baby Powder Case

A judge on Friday tossed out a $417 million jury award to a woman who claimed she developed ovarian cancer by using Johnson & Johnson talc-based baby powder for feminine hygiene.

Eva Echeverria alleged Johnson & Johnson failed to adequately warn consumers about talcum powder’s potential cancer risks–she used the company’s baby powder on a daily basis beginning in the 1950s until 2016 and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007, according to court papers. Echeverria developed ovarian cancer as a “proximate result of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder,” she said in her lawsuit.

Though she before was decided a winner in the case and was to be awarded $417 Million, but now Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson granted Johnson & Johnson’s request for a new trial. The company sayid there were errors and jury misconduct in the previous trial that ended with the award two months ago. Nelson also ruled that there wasn’t convincing evidence that Johnson & Johnson acted with malice and the award for damages was excessive. The decision will be appealed even though Echeverria has passed away, said her attorney, Mark Robinson Jr. Her attorney contended that documents showed that Johnson & Johnson knew about the risks of talc and ovarian cancer for three decades.

“Ovarian cancer is a devastating disease — but it is not caused by the cosmetic-grade talc we have used in Johnson’s Baby Powder for decades. The science is clear and we will continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder as we prepare for additional trials in the U.S.,” a spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson Carol Goodrich said in a statement. Similar allegations have led to hundreds of lawsuits against the New Jersey-based company. Jury awards against the company so far have totaled hundreds of millions of dollars.

Another similar case on Tuesday resulted in a Missouri court throwing out a $72 million award to the family of an Alabama woman who has died, ruling that the state wasn’t the proper jurisdiction for such a case. The court cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that placed limits on where injury lawsuits could be filed, saying state courts cannot hear claims against companies not based in the state where alleged injuries occurred.